By Staff writer
British Embassies in the region say they issued over 200 Emergency Travel Documents last year due to passport mishaps
The British Embassies in the Gulf region issued more than 200 Emergency Travel Documents (ETD) in 2016 after expatriates forgot to check the expiry date of their passports.
Officials said in a statement that getting an ETD, which currently costs AED480 and is time consuming and inconvenient, could be avoided if people had checked the validity of their and their family’s passports.
They said dream holidays have had to be cancelled, important family gatherings have been missed and job opportunities lost as a result.
One person who had already suffered five lost/stolen passports over the years decided to keep his safe by storing it in the freezer where, unfortunately, it got ruined, so he had to get another emergency one.
The British Embassy in the UAE has run comic strips on its social media channels to encourage British nationals to look after their passports and ensure that they’re renewed in good time.
British expatriates should check when their passports are due to expire and make a diary note to renew them up to nine months before they expire, the statement said.
It added that many people think that by renewing a passport before it expires they will lose out on validity they have paid for but any remaining validity on the existing passport (up to a total of nine months) will be added to the new one.
Philip Parham, the British Ambassador to the UAE, said: “Our passports are one of the most important documents that we possess. But so many of us fail to renew them in time or misplace them and don’t notice until it’s too late.
"This campaign is to flag, in a fun way, some of the passport related issues that our consular section witnesses in the hope that we can help prevent people from making the same mistakes.”
The British Embassy should actually advise people to renew their passports early because the British Embassy is incapable of renewing a passport locally, requiring the passport holder to send the passport to a renewal center by courier at great expense and wait an indeterminate amount of time for it to be returned.
In a nutshell, the British Embassy does not provide the support its citizens needs when travelling or residing abroad.
The British Embassy should publish exactly what their consular staff do.